Musicals Tales of the City and Picnic at Hanging Rock to Be Developed at O'Neill Theater Center

By Andrew Gans
April 15, 2009

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center has announced the two musicals that will be developed at the 2009 National Music Theater conference, which runs June 27-July 11 at the O'Neill's campus in Waterford, CT.

The two titles are Picnic at Hanging Rock (penned by librettist-lyricist-composer Daniel Zaitchik) and Tales of the City (penned by librettist Jeff Whitty, lyricist/composer Jason Sellards and composer John Garden).

Picnic will be presented June 27 at 8 PM, June 28 at 3 PM, July 1 at 8 PM and July 3 at 8 PM. Tales will be performed July 4 at 8 PM, July 5 at 4 PM, July 8 at 8 PM and July 11 at 8 PM.

In a statement National Music Theater Conference artistic director Paulette Haupt said, "The Conference received a record number of submissions this year. Among the 152 projects considered, we discovered many worthy and promising new works by extraordinary writers and composers. Although we can only support the development of two of those projects this year, we extend our congratulations to hundreds of other deserving talents. We look forward to providing a supporting and challenging environment for the four artists selected, enabling them to further develop their visions and see their work come to life."

O'Neill executive director, Preston Whiteway, added, "Now in its 32nd Season, the National Music Theater Conference under Paulette Haupt will again host writers and works representing the best of new musical writing today. Daniel and the team of Jeff, Jason and John each have a unique voice which will give life to these well known tales. I look forward to welcoming them and our audiences this summer."

Details of the two musicals follow:

Picnic at Hanging Rock
Librettist/lyricist/composer - Daniel Zaitchik
"Picnic at Hanging Rock is a new musical adaptation of Joan Lindsay's classic Australian novel, with book, music and lyrics by Daniel Zaitchik. This delicately haunting mystery follows a group of schoolgirls from a prestigious boarding school who are released from their studies for a picnic on Valentine's Day in 1900. When three of the girls vanish into the wilderness, we are lulled into a dark reverie of sexuality, repression, nature, and the unknown."

Tales of the City
Librettist - Jeff Whitty
Lyricist/composer - Jason Sellards
Composer - John Garden
"Based on the beloved series of novels by Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City follows a community of friends, lovers, and others who reside at the mythical address of 28 Barbary Lane in 1976 San Francisco. Mary Ann Singleton, a fresh arrival from Ohio, falls into a diverse band of Bohemians and blue-bloods, as families are created and rediscovered under the watchful eye of mystical landlady Anna Madrigal."

The 2009 NMTC will also reinstitute two residencies to writers and pieces earlier in their development. Names and projects of these residencies, along with directors for the two workshops, will be announced shortly.

Tickets will go on sale June 10 by calling (860) 443-1238 or by visiting www.theoneill.org.

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The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, founded in 1964, is the "pre-eminent center for the development of new works and new voices for the American theater."